They might not crack the Billboard charts, but video game theme songs are just as catchy as top pop tracks. From Super Mario Bros. to Skyrim, gaming's greatest themes have etched their way into pop culture, bleep by lovingly-crafted bleep.
But gamers don't just like to kick back and listen — they like to interact, often in wildly creative ways. Zelda on wineglasses? Tetris on a laser harp? That's just the tip of the iceberg.
The Legend of Zelda on the Chipophone
Musician/engineer Linus Akesson performs the original Zelda theme on an instrument of his own devising — the Chipophone! It's an electric organ retooled to play classic 8-bit chiptune sounds. If you want to know more about Akesson's creation, he explains it in depth here.
Super Mario Bros. on Tesla coils
How would the legendary inventor Nikola Tesla react if he knew his mighty electrical coils were used to perform music from a video game? We like to think he'd be on board with it.
Tetris on laser harp
Though it sounds ridiculously futuristic, the laser harp is a high-tech instrument popularized by '80s electronic impresario Jean-Michel Jarre. Notes are produced by blocking laser beams with one's hands. Here, virtuoso 'conquerearth' struts his stuff onstage at GameCity 5 in Nottingham by performing the theme from Tetris in a suitably impressive sound-and-light show.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask -- Song of Healing on wine glasses
A tour de force of both musicianship AND video editing, this inspiring effort by 'SpOntanius' presents a lovely Zelda tune like you've never heard it before. We're getting a headache just trying to figure out how he planned and shot this one.
World of WarCraft: Stormwind theme on solo piano
If you've ever played World of WarCraft, it's hard to forget the grand, inspiring fanfare that greets you as you approach the mighty Alliance city of Stormwind. David Debono offers his solo-piano transcription of the tune, complete with enough pianistic flourishes to preserve the epic atmosphere.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time theme...on an Ocarina
If you've ever wanted to see the music from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time played on the titular instrument, well, here you go. Youtube artist 'heathersocarina' gives a soulful rendition of the game's title theme, and she's uploaded plenty of other, equally impressive, performances as well.
Portal's 'Still Alive' performed by Jonathan Coulton and Felicia Day
In an event of such concentrated geek awesomeness that we're fortunate it didn't tear a rift in the space-time continuum, gamer 'it' girl Felicia Day got onstage with songwriter Jonathan Coulton at the 2008 Penny Arcade Expo to perform Coulton's hit 'Still Alive' from the critically-acclaimed game Portal. The cake may be a lie, but this performance isn't.
Elder Scrolls Medley on piano and violin
Two talented video game music maestros come together for this epic Elder Scrolls medley, which turns the theme songs from Morrowind and Skyrim into a stunning duet.
- Jonathan Coulton